After weeks of speculations, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare yesterday inaugurated an eight-man panel to investigate the poor performance of Team Nigeria at the recently concluded Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships.
The probe panel, headed by former board member of the AFN, Prof. Ken Anugweje, has former chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, a member. Other members are Rotimi Obajimi, Umar Bindir, Falilat Ogunkoya, Mary Onyali and Dare Esan. A former secretary of the AFN, Maria Wophill, is secretary to the panel.
It was learned yesterday that the panel has just seven days to submit its work. A member of the panel told The Guardian that the move was part of measures to forestall a re-occurrence of the challenges that result in the poor outing by Team Nigeria at major championships.
Among other things, the panel will investigate the factors responsible for the avoidable disqualification of two top Nigerian sprinters, Blessing Okagbare and Divine Oduduru in Doha.
The panel is also expected to probe the avoidable massive and unacceptable technical and administrative lapses that embarrassed the nation in Doha.
Team Nigeria, with 25 athletes and an unspecified number of officials, returned from Doha with just one medal, a bronze won by Ese Brume in the women’s long jump.
The Guardian recalls that midway into the championship, the sports minister ordered the immediate recall of AFN Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye from Doha due to technical and administrative lapses.
Contacted yesterday, the chairman of the panel, Prof. Anugweje promised that the committee would do a thorough job.
He said, “This committee is made up of heavyweights as far as Nigerian sports is concerned, and I can assure you that we will do our best.”
Meanwhile, a board member of the AFN, Olamide George has applauded the sports minister for setting up the panel. He said: “I am in total support of the decision to set up this panel. I pray that the minister will implement the report of this panel to save Nigerian athletics. My prayer also is for members of the committee to say the truth.”
George, who is the vice president of the AFN, is expected to appear before the panel today.